The Last of the Streetlight Beats
Written by Rob Smittix on September 3, 2020
So if you haven’t familiarized yourself with Matt Pless yet, you can thank me later. We the music lovers are always looking to find new music and musicians to add to our personal playlists. I say look no further, Matt has been described as today’s Bob Dylan but I find Matt’s lyrics to be a step beyond. So thank you Matt Pless for speaking with me today I really appreciate your time.
RRX: Matt, what’s good man? So you’ve been a favorite singer/song writer of mine for years but for those just catching on: if you can give us a little introduction of who Matt Pless is and what you’re all about it would be beneficial for our audience and prospective fans.
MP: Who is Matt Pless? Depends on what day of the week really. Who is anyone? Who are you while you are being who you are? I’ve been all kinds of people. I guess you could say I’m a little bit of everyone, just like everyone else.
In the context of this interview, which I assume is being conducted due to you having an awareness of my music, I would say Matt Pless is an artist, the last of the streetlight beat poets, the lost boy in the land of chalk drawings, and the minstrel troubadour trapped in the wrong time. Matt Pless is about expression, freedom, truth seeking and invoking the spirit of a wild whimsical libertine.
RRX: We’ve all heard the cliché saying that actions speak louder than words but I’m a firm believer that sometimes words can be actions. With that being said, your lyrics are actions to me. As a songwriter myself sometimes all I feel I can do is write and if people heard the message then my actions helped. With the state of world affairs and our country, I can only imagine the inspiration you have had to write.
MP: Lately, I haven’t written much at all about the state of the world. I’ve been writing about all of this for the last ten years. I suppose if there is more to write about the current state of the world, I assume you’re referring to politics and the social landscape and all that, I will receive inspiration to write about it, but if you wanna know my perspective on today, I suggest looking in to things I wrote yesterday, maybe that will help you figure out tomorrow.
RRX: I’ve told you this in the past when we’ve spoken and I stand my ground that “When the Frayed Wind Blows” is one of the greatest songs ever written. I remember some of the background story on this but can you tell the audience a little more about how this song came together?
MP: When the “Frayed Wind Blows”, oh man, well, I was living in New York City juggling train wrecks and listening to painted piano players. There was this guy on the subway who winked at me, I found myself in a rather high strung state and couldn’t sleep, something grabbed my hand and I started writing. Before I knew it, I had scribbled down dozens of lines on about fourteen pieces of paper. I couldn’t stop writing the damn thing, it just wouldn’t finish itself. I had a feeling it was gonna shape up to be something important, so I stayed up for three days and didn’t eat anything until it was finished. The whole thing was done by day three, except for the last line of the hook. I wandered around focusing on what would fit in that section for hours and hours, every combination of words I could think of. Finally, I came up with “when the fury of the frayed wind blows” it felt perfect, like the moment you know you’re in love. It’s got something to do with Dante’s Inferno, A Peoples History of the United States (Howard Zinn), and Peter, Paul, and Mary.
RRX: “What a time to be alive,” obviously quoting one of your songs, but man, 2020 has been like a game of Jumanji. Roll the dice and take cover. What have you been doing to get through this? How are you holding up and what do you make of all of this uncertainty?
MP: What do I make of 2020? The real question is, what does 2020 make of me? Hopefully not a corpse. I’m holding up OK, as well as anyone who isn’t wearing a ventilator I suppose. I’m aware, cautious, but not paranoid or living in fear. I think having a balance with all that is important. I haven’t been doing much differently except being bored more often and wishing I could be out on tour playing shows. As far as what’s going on socially and politically, I think there is a whole lot of stuff this country has to reckon with. There’s blood on its hands and shadows down its highways. Don’t get me wrong, I love America, but it will have its day in court.
RRX: Lastly, I know you have a new EP on the way. Let us know what’s on the horizon and what to expect in the near future.
MP: I have a new full length album in the future. It’s all finished, I’m just putting its release on hold until we stop needing so many ventilators. I’m releasing 3 vinyl records of previous albums. A vinyl version of my Nero EP can be pre-ordered off my Bandcamp, and I’m gonna say my new full length will be out in early spring, right before touring picks back up. After that, I’ll be out on the road for a while playing shows, romancing chewing gum diner waitresses and swallowing sunshine out in California.